O’Hanley surprises Canada Games men’s soccer team at airport
Cameron O’Hanley surprised his soccer teammates Sunday when they arrived home from the Canada Games.
O’Hanley, 17, suffered a traumatic brain injury following a June 17 car accident and was unable to attend the Games in Sherbrooke, Que.
He became a rallying point and inspiration for the squad and knew he wanted to be there when they touched down around noon at the Charlottetown Airport.
“It was incredible because I got to surprise them,” O’Hanley said moments after the squad came through the doors. “My team is the most important thing to me.”
O’Hanley stood from his wheelchair and hugged each of his teammates as they entered the arrivals area.
“It was really emotionally,” said Lucas Holmes, who was one of the first to meet O’Hanley.
“I haven’t seen the guy since the accident. (With) everything that has happened, it’s been a really big rollercoaster ride. It’s really great to see him.”
O’Hanley was in great spirits, joking around with his buddies and holding a sign that read: “6 out of 12 teams — Guess that’s OK, but you woulda got 3rd if I was there,” on one side and “Just kidding congrats on 6th place boys!” on the other.
“He is like an everyday inspiration,” Kieran Moore said.
The team had a slogan of ‘No days off’ this summer, meaning even on off days they were to go for a run or train for Sherbrooke.
It took on a whole new meaning following the accident, Moore said.
“They asked him to walk to the door and he did laps around the hospital,” he said. “He really took the ‘no days off’ seriously.”
In Quebec the players wore T-shirts with his number 20 on the back and the slogan at the top. During Saturday night's closing ceremonies the players and coaching staff chanted, “Fight for Cam. Fight for Cam.” and held one of the T-shirts up.
O’Hanley would send videos to the team before the game, including one of him kicking a soccer ball. His name was mentioned repeatedly during the pre-game speeches and keeper Logan Doiron wore a bracelet in his honour.
“Everybody played and battled just like he would. We all played for him. He was the hardest worker on our team. He worked everyday to get better,” Lucas Holmes, on his teammate Cameron O’Hanley
“Remember that there is a guy that trained everyday with us, who wants to be on the field more than any of us,” Moore shared as the sentiment from the pre-game pep talk. “It drove the whole team and he’s very responsible for our sixth-place finish.”
Doiron said his heart was racing when he saw his teammate Sunday after a long day of travel.
“It’s unbelievable,” he said. “He was always there (with us) no matter what.”
Coach Jonathan Vos said it was an emotional homecoming.
“You’re holding back the tears, but it’s great to see how far he’s come,” Vos said. “It’s great to see Cam in good spirits.”